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Interview Tips for Job Seekers: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Talented professionals are continually building their networks, evaluating what’s important to them, and checking the market for interesting job opportunities. And while their backgrounds and experiences may be top notch, their interview skills could get in the way of landing that next exciting role. Showcase your many talents and become savvier in the art of interviewing by avoiding these five interview mistakes.

Mistake 1: Putting Style over Substance

Interviewers are generally passionate about their company. Going into an interview ready to match that passion with your own enthusiasm and knowledge will give you a competitive advantage. Great people skills and personal style alone will not carry you through the interview; be prepared to know everything you can about the company and its history. Use sources like LinkedIn to learn more about the hiring manager and potential connections within your network. Use other web resources, such as a company’s Facebook page, to learn about their cultural aspects. The Internet provides you with all the access you need from a research perspective; be sure to invest in this homework and not just rely on your people skills.

Mistake 2: Treating Every Interview the Same

Every job opportunity is unique. You need to tailor your interview style to the specific job. Your answer to questions should demonstrate knowledge of their company and how your skills fit within it. Your questions should be targeted directly to this job. Too often, people present themselves and answer questions in a generic way. Every opportunity requires personalization; otherwise you won’t distinguish yourself as a job candidate.

Mistake 3: Not Planning the Logistics

Planning the logistics of your interview seems so obvious that some job candidates completely overlook it. Know the dress code, know where you’re going and anticipate transportation challenges; arrive half an hour early and take the time to compose yourself and relax before going in. Be prepared with a notepad, several resume copies, your references should they be requested and any other materials you might need. These basic steps will help you avoid seeming unprepared.

Mistake 4: Not Focusing on the Employer

The job interview is your time to shine, but you need to make the interviewer feel special. Relating to your job interviewer is the key to forming a connection - this is their domain, and they are inviting you in. Focus on what they are saying, and follow their lead rather than bringing the conversation immediately back to where you want it to go. Consider questions like, “Why do you like it here? What is the best part of your job? What do you respect most about the company’s philosophy?” By focusing on the employer, you not only show that you are interested in him or her and what he or she has to say, you are learning interesting details that will help you make an informed decision about the job opportunity.

Mistake 5: Not Making a Strong First Impression

It’s been said many times, and that’s because it’s true - first impressions are crucial. The job search can be stressful, but it’s exciting too. You need to show your professionalism, energy, enthusiasm, knowledge and intelligence starting with that first (firm) handshake and engaging smile. Don’t give the interviewer a reason to question you from the onset; if he or she has a good feeling from the start, you chances of acing the interview are much higher.

Interview day is your showcase. It’s the key to opening doors, and it can rank among the best days at a company. Getting a job is still all about relationships. Be prepared, energetic, and be sure to tailor the interview directly to the company, hiring manager, and position.

Photo Credit: Resume Templates for Mac